Friday, April 23, 2010

Where's God in My Loneliness?

It was one month to the day after my six-month-old daughter, Hope, had died of a rare metabolic disorder. Heading out alone on a business trip, I thought getting away and being busy might actually alleviate my grief. But instead, sadness traveled with me. That night in my hotel room, I desperately wanted someone to remember Hope with me.

I did what most people do when they feel lonely—I reached out to find someone to help make my loneliness go away. I punched my way through the numbers programmed on my cell phone, but no one answered. I didn't know how to connect with God in a way that would soothe my loneliness, so I finally cried myself to sleep.

Throughout the Old Testament, God promises Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and the Israelites he will be with them. He told Joshua, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Joshua 1:5). While I've believed these promises are for me too, sometimes when I've read them, I've thought, Well, I was hoping for something better than that. God's presence seemed more like the consolation prize than the reward.

But when my friend Angela lost her husband, she told me, "It took me two years after Wes died before I was willing to say to Jesus, in the loneliness of my bed, 'I need you to make your presence known to me, to satisfy me.'" She admitted it was awkward to wait in silence for him, but it's been worth overcoming the awkwardness for her to experience God's friendship.

The trouble is, I'm rarely quiet or patient enough to wait for God to meet me. Perhaps what's more deeply true is that I really didn't fully believe being alone with Jesus—even when I'm lonely—would satisfy me.
Thank God for this article. I was feeling lonely recently. Thinking about it, I really miss my times with God. Even though I know very well the blessings and have experienced God so real, that He took away my loneliness last time... now, I guess, I feel lonely again during this season. But to be honest, I just sit down and read, and surf the net, and chat - and keep checking my email for a word, a whisper of human contact. Ennui + longing.

A dear friend and I were talking earlier on MSN today. We both have a clear calling from God - my friend of ministering to the poor and broken-hearted... mine of ministering to the children of the world. And even though what we are doing is very meaningful work... we both are getting tired and feeling a bit lost at times. And I think we both long for companions to join us in the works that the Father has given to us. "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. But pity the man who is all alone!"

I know we are made for community. And God made us that way. And in fact, He WANTS us to be in community. That He wants, in fact, prefers to minister to us through people (since we are made in His image). But sometimes community just isn't there. Or could it be that God sometimes lead us into circumstances where we must first experience the loneliness of the desert - and the temptations of the evil one - even though we have the leading of the Holy Spirit?
The very thought of living in the land of milk and honey without God's presence among them brought Moses to his knees: "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here" (Exodus 33: 15).

To Moses, experiencing the felt presence of God was more important than anything. Seeing his example, I've started looking for ways to live like I really value God's presence. So I occasionally turn off the radio in my car and think about him or I turn off the television in my house to cut down on the world's noise. When I'm willing to wait for him to make himself known to me, I offer more than just lip service to what's truly important.


I remember. Ps Jeff last time talked about 'Starbuckings with God'. :) Having coffee time with Dad. Talking to Him, telling Him about everything.
What I wanted in the hotel room that lonely night was to hear the voice of someone who really knew my sad circumstances. But who could know more about me than God? If I want to hear his voice, I have to open up his Word in a spirit of quiet humility and expectation, and wait for him to speak to me.
Come to think of it... I haven't gone to any park in the past few months to meet God personally. Just Jesus and me, sitting under a coconut tree. 我跟耶稣在椰子下... =D
Sometimes I'm lonely because I'm waiting for someone else to make the first move. But when it comes to God, he's already made the first move. God doesn't want to love me from a distance; he invites me to draw near. James 4:8 says, "Draw close to God and God will draw close to you" (NLT). But there's only one reason we can draw close to God himself in the midst of our loneliness—because Jesus willingly experienced the ultimate loneliness in our place.

I think the whole article is so beautiful and edifying. Do read it...

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